Implement free travel for kids below 5 yrs: Transport dept’s fresh directions

The announcement came in the wake of social media post showing a bus conductor forcing a parent of an under-five child to purchase a ticket despite the free travel announced by the minister during the budget session of the State Assembly.
Implement free travel for kids below 5 yrs: Transport dept’s fresh directions
Representative image

CHENNAI: The transport department, Principal Secretary Dr K Gopal has directed the managing directors of the state transport undertakings to immediately implement the Transport Minister’s announcement of free travel for up to five years in all the government buses.

The announcement came in the wake of social media post showing a bus conductor forcing a parent of an under-five child to purchase a ticket despite the free travel announced by the minister during the budget session of the State Assembly. Earlier, the child up to the age of three will be allowed travel freely with their parents while children between three and 12 years will have to pay half the fare.

Citing the transport minister’s announcement on May 5 that children up to the age of five will be allowed to travel in all the buses, he said that the government directing the eight transport corporations, including Metropolitan Transport Corporation to implement the announcement with immediate effect.

Sources in the transport corporation said that the free travel for up to the age of five was allowed immediately after the minister’s announcement. “We initially gave oral instructions to implement it and followed it up with a formal circular without waiting for the government order amending the motor vehicles act to allow such travel, ” sources added.

Interestingly, Kerala and Karnataka allow free travel till the age of six while Andhra Pradesh up to five years. Telangana allows free travel for 12 years.

Sources said that the transport corporation would suffer a revenue loss of up to 2 per cent owing to the free travel of children up to the age of five. “The Tamil Nadu government will not compensate the loss. We have to meet it through our own revenue, ” sources added.

On the announcement of a 10 per cent discount for booking two-way tickets online, sources said that the TNSTC online portal software has to be updated in this regard. “We have already asked the company to update the software. Soon it will be implemented, ” sources added.

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